Sweet and Easy: Tips for Using Jelly Rolls in Patchwork Quilts

Strip quilting, literally stitching strips of fabric together, is one of the easiest ways to create a modern-looking patchwork quilt or quilt project.

You can cut your own strips using new or leftover fabrics and a rotary cutter or a die-cutting machine Or you can use pre-cut Jelly Rolls.

Shoreline table runner by Sharon Holland from Modern Patchwork Summer 2015

Once you have the strips, you can piece them as is or cut them up and rearrange the pieces into patchwork patterns like herringbone, chevron, or log cabin.

Pre-cuts are the most convenient route to strip quilting, but if you are going to use Jelly Rolls, here are some tips from veteran quilter Lisa Chin:

Jelly Roll Tips by Lisa Chin

1. A Jelly Roll is usually 40 strips of 2.5″ x 44″ fabric from one fabric line. Roll sizes can vary by manufacturer. Two Jelly Rolls from the same line can have variations; don’t count on them being exactly the same.

2. Do NOT wash the strips unless you are ready to deal with lots of loose threads and extreme ironing. Some manufacturers do recommend steam ironing the strips before using to align the fibers.

3. Use a lint roller on each cut side of the Jelly Roll before unrolling to eliminate as much loose lint as possible. There is a LOT of lint due to the pinking of the strips.

4. When you unroll the fabric, check the width of the strip from pinked edge to pinked edge to determine where your ¼” seam will hit. Most of the time you will be measuring a ¼” in from the top of the pinked points.

5. Jelly Rolls are convenient to use and are a great way to get a small selection of a complete line of fabric. There are also solid color Jelly Rolls available that are great to use for sashing and binding. There are a lot of available patterns made specifically for use with a Jelly Roll.

Try your hand at strip quilting with pre-cuts or DIY strips and the Modern Patchwork Summer 2015. We have patchwork projects from quilts to pillows to purses with modern strip, block, and English paper piecing techniques.

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